How to prepare for an exam

soramsey —  2 May 2013 — 8 Comments

By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Ever had that sudden moment of realisation which makes you exclaim, “Ohmygrapefruitandguava, it’s 1 week before the exam! Where has all the time gone? How am I supposed to catch up with my studies in time for the exam?” No more procrastination, not this time!

I am sure most of us are aware that ACCA has launched a student planner app (which is pretty nifty, if I may say so), and the app contains a countdown for ACCA students of important dates such as exam entry, results, but more importantly, exam days. They are the key to thorough preparation for the ACCA examinations. So what if you do not have a smartphone or it’s not ACCA exams you’re taking? You can always be old school, use a calendar!

Below are some guidelines on how ready we should be approaching the exams. Of course, I am only an average student, so if you have an alternative method to ensuring we are more prepared, I’m all ears!

1 month before

You should have finished studying by now. If you haven’t, best wrap it up quickly; otherwise you’d be depriving yourself of practicing exam techniques.

Start doing questions (if you have not attempted before, i.e. if you have only been digging through books as part of your study preparation), at least 3 a day for each paper you are attempting.

Try to keep healthy, drink lots of water (especially important if wherever you are staying is hot and/or humid), and exercise to keep the brain energised.

1 week before

After attempting questions, you will soon discover in which areas of the syllabus you are weak, and would have revised adequately.

Practice questions under exam conditions – it would be a good idea to attempt a past exam sitting within the time frame of the exam (3 hours and 15 minutes for ACCA exams). Sit one past year exam per day (irrespective of the number of papers you are attempting for the sitting, only attempt one sitting per day. 3 hours of speed writing is more than enough).

Again, health is very important, keep a balanced lifestyle and start establishing a good sleep routine.

The day before

It is perfectly normal if it you cannot remember anything all of a sudden. This is probably due to exam anxiety (which I get all the time, and honestly, a lot worse than most people). Practice relaxation techniques, tell yourself that you will be fine, do anything that will keep you calm.

Make sure you have the proper documents, adequate stationery and other relevant items ready on the table, before you retire for the night.

Get to bed early, last minute cramming will not help – the brain will get tired faster and you’ll panic faster. If you have a hard time sleeping the night before, well, try counting sheep?

The big day!

A calm mind is crucial today. Everything that you have learnt is stored well in that noggin; all your brain needs is a little jump start to get the cogs moving for the exam. Again, do not be alarmed if at first you are unable to recall anything relating to the paper at free will. As you have been practising exam questions under exam conditions prior to the big day, everything should come naturally once the exam begins.

Until then, study smart and stay healthy!


8 responses to How to prepare for an exam

    Gibson Saruchera 8 May 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Great advice


    wow. that great i wl practice that.


      Hi Gaoele

      Thank you for the compliment. I hope I am able to practise my own advice too! (It is rather difficult, with constant interruptions to attend to.)


    it is very effect able advise


    First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a
    quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are
    usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?

    Thank you!


    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book-marked it for later!

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